After hibernating at home for the winter and early spring thanks to the double whammy of COVID-19 and the brutal St. Louis weather, parents and kids alike have hit their limit of make-your-own family fun.
We’ve all watched the entire season of Ted Lasso approximately 3.5 times (and some of us parents have cried over the karaoke scene approximately 10.5 times while hiding from the kids in our bathrooms). We’ve played so many card games, we’re conditioned to shout UNO at random people and grab at any spoon in our line of sight, even if it’s still in a waiter’s hand. And we cannot handle any more puzzles because some sick puzzle maker gets his thrills by picturing frantic parents searching high and low for that one puzzle piece he stuffed in his pocket.
Now that the sun is out and our vaccines are in, we can finally ditch our Cheetos-streaked-yoga-pants for a clean pair of yoga pants and head back out in the world – as long as we stick with the recommended health guidelines. So, toss on your mask and hit these seven spots for socially-distanced excitement that will thrill every member of your family.
Metro Theater Company Presents The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
When live children’s theater comes back, it comes back big – especially when 75 larger-than-life puppets hit the stage! The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show / La Oruga Muy Hambrienta Espectáculo invites children to enter the world of Eric Carle and spend the day with the iconic characters from his beloved picture books. MTC’s dazzling production will be staged in both English and Spanish, taking language learners of every age on an enchanting musical adventure they’ll never forget.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will be presented outdoors at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Tickets for socially-distanced seating pods for two are $56, and pods are available for groups of two to eight guests with pricing based on the number of people in each pod. A virtual streaming option is also available for $20. Shows have been extended through May 23. For details, check out metroplays.org.
Dinos and Stingrays at the Saint Louis Zoo
You can stop watching Jurassic Park on Netflix and experience a scream-free version in real life (Chris Pratt not included). The Emerson Dinoroarus attraction is open at the Saint Louis Zoo, starring animatronic versions of a Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and other ancient species. The exhibit also features a staged fossil dig site and hosts a number of the Zoo’s current residents to help kids learn what each animal has in common with their favorite prehistoric creatures.
While you’re at the Zoo, be sure to visit its popular Stingrays at Caribbean Cove attraction. Kids can pet and feed these graceful creatures as they glide through a saltwater pool as well as say hello to their shark buddies.
Dinoroarus costs $5.95 per person for ages two and up. Caribbean Cove costs $3.95 per guest over age two. All guests must make a free, timed reservation in advance to enter the Zoo, and guests age nine and older are required to wear masks. For more information, visit stlzoo.org.
Painting in the Park at Laumeier Sculpture Park, May 15
Experience abstract painting on canvas in the great outdoors! Drip, brush and scumble, mix colors and explore shape and texture as you create a family masterpiece together. Family Workshop: Painting in the Park will be held Saturday, May 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Cost is $35 for one child ages 4-12 and a favorite grown-up. More information and to register: laumeier.org
Purina Pet Project Day, May 16
Join other families from across St. Louis for a day of service to help area pets and the people who love them. The Purina Pet Project Day at Purina Farms features 10 projects to benefit two St. Louis organizations that provide victims of intimate partner violence and their pets with safe, transitional housing – Lydia’s House and the APA of Missouri.
Kids can construct pet beds, compile care packages, make pet blankets, and craft pet toys for the dogs and cats who help their owners heal from the trauma of abuse. Other activities include donating wish list supplies, meeting adoptable pets, and participating in a special kids’ project where your little ones can adopt a stuffed dog or cat to take home.
Because only 10 percent of domestic violence shelters can take in pets, many victims stay in abusive situations for fear of leaving their beloved dog or cat behind. Purina is on a mission to help shelters on their journey to welcome family pets by raising awareness and funds for the cause.
Two sessions are available for Purina Pet Project Day – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to anyone age five and older. Registration is free and required. Book your family’s spot at purinafarms.com.
Can't get enough of Purina Farms? The Visitor's Center is now open! Make reservations for your visit here.
Splatter Paint Saturday Mornings at COCA, June 12, July 10, July 31, and August 14
You spent the past year digging glitter out of your carpet and scrubbing crayon off your tables. Now’s your chance to sit back and relax while your kids let their creative side run wild on someone else’s turf. During Splatter Paint Saturday Mornings at COCA’s outdoor studio, burgeoning artists are free to get messy as they transform splatter, bubble and pendulum paint into their personal masterpieces. Children will be given smocks, but should wear clothes they can paint in. While there are sessions throughout the last spring and summer, spots fill up fast for this popular art session.
Splatter Paint Saturday Mornings are for kids ages five to eight and run from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. The cost is $15 for one class or $40 for all four. Pre-registration is required at cocastl.org.
S’More Magical Nights at The Magic House
Nothing says summer like toasting marshmallows over a campfire and smooshing all that sweet goodness into an ooey, gooey s’more. So, why not get a head start on the fun this spring? Your family is invited to join The Magic house for a s’mores party in their front play garden before you head inside the museum for private playtime. Because participation is limited, your sugar-fueled kids have plenty of room to play, roam and explore.
Tickets for S’more Magical Nights are $10 for members and $20 for non-members. Reservations are required. All visitors ages five and older must wear masks. Make reservations at magichouse.org.
Strawberry Festival at Eckert’s, May 8-9, May 15-16, and May 22-23
Get out in the sunshine and stock up on strawberries at Eckert’s annual festival celebrating this sweet treat. Besides picking their own berries, your kids can enjoy pony, carnival and wagon rides throughout the day and meet new furry friends at the petting farm. And of course, no visit to Eckert’s is complete without a stop at their custard stand.
The Strawberry Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on select weekends in May. Admission is free, but there is a fee for some activities. Find more information at eckerts.com.
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge has written for STL Parent for more than 12 years. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL
Visit the Animal Protective Association (APA) of Missouri for a free story time for preschoolers and help foster their love of animals. Kids will learn about caring for our four-legged friends as well as be entertained by fun stories and make a craft. They'll even meet a furry friend! Geared to ages 2-5.
Children ages 0-6 and their caregivers are invited to join in the Little Red Hen Playdate at The Waldorf School of St. Louis. You and your child will get to bake bread, a weekly occurrence in the school's early childhood education program, listen to stories, join in circle time filled with songs, rhymes, and movement, and explore the outdoors in the mini meadow.
Bring your family to Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar on select Wednesday nights this off season for Family Night with Fredbird! Meet Fredbird from 6:30-7:30 p.m., play games and win prizes! Kids 12 and under eat free per adult meal purchased.
Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed for preschoolers. Families will enjoy hands-on activities and private playtime in select exhibit areas like Wonder Works, the STEAM Center, and Xavier Riddle. Recommended for ages 1 to 5.